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Collage/Art: Anita Siegel
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Five Fates, an anthology with no credited editor - but most sources acknowledge Keith Laumer as the editor. From a common beginng: William Bailey commits himself to a Euthanasia Center and dies - each of 5 authors show their versions of Bailey's fate. No two are remotely alike, and all are excellent pieces. Most of these had an early version appear in SF magazines (some with different titles), but the versions presented here are revised and polished. The Harlan Ellison piece was nominated for both Hugo & Nebula awards, and the Poul Anderson piece was a Nebula nominee. This is one of the most original concepts ever for an anthology, and I strongly recommend it.
"MURDER WILL IN" by Frank Herbert - As he lies dying, Bailey realizes for the first time that an alien parasite is occupying his body. The parasite has only minutes to find a new host before Bailey's body completely dies - or else perish along with him. But where will it find a new host in a room full of bodies?
"MAVERICK" by Gordon R. Dickson - Bailey is at the Euthanasia Center to discover who has been stealing bodies. Emerging from the unconsiousness of simulated death, he finds he has wings - but he's in any place but Heaven. Somehow he has been transferred to a parallel world and into the body of one of it's inhabitants, a bird-man who is right in the middle of a fight for his life!
"THE REGION BETWEEN" by Harlan Ellison - Bailey's soul is stolen by the all-seeing, all-knowing Succubus and sold to a series of alien cultures. But, of millions of souls that have gone before him, Bailey is the first to even think of rebellion. And not even the Succubus suspects the power of Bailey's lust for revenge.
"OF DEATH WHAT DREAMS" by Keith Laumer - Bailey gets an unexpected second chance at life. Stripped of everything but his wits, he enters an underground city of criminals where his mastery of Booking the Vistat Run - the ultimate form of gambling - leads him to the true reason for his reprieve from death.
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